Mayors Hogsett, Brainard sign letter pushing Senate for gun reform

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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Five Indiana mayors, including both Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett and Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard, are pushing Congress to take action on gun legislation after the latest mass shootings.

They’ve joined more than 230 mayors nationwide asking the U.S. Senate to vote on a pair of House bills which passed with bipartisan support.

The letter highlights two bills involving background checks: House Bill 8 and 1112. House Bill 8 would require all gun sales to go through a background check, prohibit unlicensed and unregulated secondary sales and help police trace crime guns.

House Bill 1112 would extend the review period of background checks from three to 10 days.

The request comes just days after the latest mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas.

“Our president is tweeting thoughts and prayers. Thoughts and prayers aren’t going to do anything. That’s not going to stop the shootings,” said Indianapolis resident Ploy Unchit.

The mayoral letter was put together by the United States Conference of Mayors and includes five in Indiana: Indianapolis, Carmel, Fort Wayne, Gary and South Bend where Mayor Pete Buttigieg is also running for president.

The letter is addressed to both Senate Republican and Democratic party leadership and asks them to do something immediately.

“I think it’s a great idea,” said Indianapolis resident Courtney Corlew. “I feel like this has happened way too much to not do anything about it.”

“I think that’s probably a good idea,” added Dean Hawks, also of Indianapolis.

“I just want to see action and not a bunch of arguments,” said Unchit.

Not everyone agrees.

Navy veteran Darrell Benge is visiting from Texas and has family in El Paso.

“I wish somebody would have had a gun and shot that crazy S.O.B,” he said.

He would like things to go the other way. He believes those who pass the current background check should be able to open carry just about everywhere.

“When I’m in Texas and traveling anywhere and everywhere in Texas, I feel really safe carrying my gun,” said Benge.

But others like Corlew, Unchit and Hawks are glad their mayor is getting involved.

“You bet,” said Hawks.

With 251 mass shootings in this year’s first 216 days — defined as any incident where at least four victims are shot, even if they don’t die, no matter the circumstance including gang violence — the real question is, will the mayoral letter do any good?

“I don’t think it’s a good idea,” said Benge. “That’s taking away some of your rights.”

“I think it will make a difference,” said Corlew.

“I guess we’ll find out,” said Hawks.

News 8 tried to interview both Mayor Hogsett and Brainard Thursday but neither were available.

The number of signees keeps growing. It’s now up to 235.

News Thursday means the mayors are getting at least part of their wish. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) said he won’t bring the Senate back early but said when they return, background checks and red flag laws will be up for discussion.

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